How Much Should You Spend on Client Gifts?

Client holiday gift guide

Client holiday gift guide

Have you been thinking about how much should you spend on client gifts this holiday season and beyond? We've discovered it depends on two things:

1. The type of client you have: Different clients in different industries will interpret business gifts differently. On the low-side, service providers can often suffice with gifts of $20 gift cards. On the high-end, a lawyer may send a gift basket worth $200 or sporting tickets worth $1,000.

2. What does the client gift mean: If you’re looking for a token corporate gift, anything in the $35-50 range will suffice. If the relationship is important, we recommend $50-$75, especially if it's a holiday gift. If this is a personal relationship, you’ll likely want to add a little bit of personalization, so you’re looking for $65-$95.

This is not a wedding gift or birthday gift, so we wanted to make sure you understood what a thoughtful gift might mean and how much to spend. We also include some do's and don'ts when you're thinking about your holiday budget.

Are you a small business? Don't fret, these gifts ALWAYS pay off in the long run, because this is one of the few ways you can leave a lasting impression. (plus you can take the deduction!)

Let’s dive deeper into these two areas:

The Type of Client You Have

Corporate holiday gifts for clients

Different types of clients require different types of client gifts. Corporate gift-giving isn't easy, so we cover a few of the most common holiday industries we see.

Finance

chocolate gift boxes for clients

For clients that work in finance, or are your financial clients, we recommend spending a minimum of $50 per client. Over the years, we’ve found that anything under $50 means the client isn’t worth much.  They’re probably not worth even buying a gift.

That’s right, a simple email is often more valuable than sending something chinzy that’s less than $50. We can give you plenty of bad ideas: stress balls, ballpoint pens, notepads, and magnets. We can also give you some great ideas for gifts just above $50: gift baskets, chocolate, and small desserts.

The folks that spend more than $80 are likely to have a more personal relationship, such as a private wealth client or a personal banker. The more money under management, the more personal the gift. A good idea for gifts in insurance sales, for example, like State Farm, tend to have more commodity-like clients, and tend to often stick to $50 unless the sales are large, like workplace insurance.  If it's a holiday gift, take the high range of the above figures.

Manufacturing

holiday client gift ideas

For any type of manufacturing, construction, or physical types of enterprises, such as logistics and distribution, we recommend a minimum price point of $65. We found that because these are long sales cycles and switching costs are relatively easy, but expensive, a $65 dollar gift is the right price point to send a gift.

Anything over $125 is TOO MUCH. That’s right, we think you can actually spend too much in this sector and be obnoxious. So we recommend $65-$125. If it's the holiday season, take the mid-range of the above range.

Services

best gift baskets for client

How much should you spend on client gifts? For services, there are a wide range of service clients, so we’ll try to talk about the big ones.

  • Management: Management services such as a facility management service - $50-$75
  • Software: Software services such as a cloud-based CRM platform - $75-$150
  • Professional Services: Professional services such as legal or financial advice - $70-$175
  • Consulting: Any time anyone performs work as a service. For example, an AI consultant who develops software for a firm based on a contract - $50-$175
  • Training: Training services such as onsite defensive computing training - $100-$75
  • Travel: Like a Travel Agent - $50-$75
  • Events: Event services such as a company conference or off-site or coordinating a wedding - $50-$75
  • Food: Food services that target business customers such as an office catering service - $50-$75
  • Marketing: Marketing services including advertising, promotion and sales outsourcing - $100-$200
  • Research: Research such as competitive intelligence - $50-$75
  • Media: Media services such as video or photo shoot for a corporate message - $50-$75
  • Distribution: Distribution services such as an import/export service in a market outside of the US or in a new market - $80-$100
  • Supply: Supply related services such as a business-to-business e-commerce site for employee relationship - $150-$75
  • Printing: Production of small runs of things such as a product prototype - $50-$75
  • Engineering: Services such as a firm engineering for a new building - $150-$300
  • Design: Design services such as a graphics design firm that produces logos, signs, packaging, publications and web graphics for business customers - $75-$100
  • Real Estate: Personal and Corporate Real Estate Gifts - $50-$150
  • Quality of Life: Services related to employee quality of life such as medical, daycare and fitness services - $50-$75
  • Logistics: Services such as a warehouse or transportation service - $150-$75
  • Waste Management: Waste management such as recycling of cardboard - $50-$75

Sales

personalized client holiday gift ideas

For many salespeople, how much to spend on a client is a perennial problem. The thing we’d emphasize the most is to think about how you make your gift personal. We hear from many recipients that the salespeople that sent gifts with personal touches meant more than how much they spent. Given that, the typical gift for sales is a little bit a function of profit/revenue.

Annual Recurring Revenue and how much to spend on a client:

  • $500 - $1000 = $50
  • $1000 - $10K = $100
  • $10K - $100K = $125
  • $100K - $1MM = $200

Executives

holiday gift ideas for executives

Buying an executive a gift is tough and knowing how much to spend is tough as well. We recommend a minimum of $80 for any C-level executive. A bottle of wine is very cliche. So this will likely be an expensive gift, but worth it because it's thoughtful and will likely leave a lasting impression. Usually an average of $115 is spent, and of course the sky is the limit, but most people don’t spend more than $175 since it becomes obnoxious at that point.

What You Want the Gift to Mean to the Client

Thank you holiday gifts for clients

Thank you for your business relationship this year: For gifts that are simple thank yous, we find that most people send a token $35-$65 a year.

Please send me your referrals: If you’re looking for your clients to send you referrals, don’t forget to ask them! But also make sure you don’t go cheap on your gift. For these types of gifts, we recommend spending $70 minimum.

Looking forward to your business next year: Spend about $50. These guys are locked in.

Your relationship with me is personal and means a lot: You’ll be looking to spend anywhere from $65-$95 with clients on the lower end and $120-$150 on the higher end.

So many great corporate ideas to choose from for a corporate gift. Let us know your favorite in the comments below!

 

About Lexie Banks 13 Articles
Lexie has spend nearly a decade in retail, writing for corporate gifting companies, baby toys and kids. Gifting can be complicated, with lots of complicated details. She loves helping folks think about that certain detail that makes gifts special.

11 Comments

  1. Corporate gift-giving is an example of how you can make a lasting impression. Will you make a good impression or a bad one? This article is an excellent example of why you need to spend time figuring out what your gift recipient likes just as much as you need to calculate how much to spend on client gift. With the holidays closing in, I hope people read this before they make a gift-giving mistake.

  2. Business gifts can be confusing for me which is why I’ve been looking at your site. You have some sound gift ideas elsewhere and I like how you give readers a clear figure for different situations. I like how you mention how you don’t want to spend too much on gifts or they become obnoxious. I’d say that’s a tightrope for many people come holiday time.

  3. I like spending the holiday season with my family and friends, but I get anxious when I have to figure out what to get for business gifts and more to the point, how much to spend on client gifts. This primer helped me out as no one has ever told me what’s a good dollar amount and how to proportion gifts based on what your clients bring in for you (a sad fact of life since we are on a limited budget, even if the gifts can be deducted).

  4. This is an article I wish I had fifteen years ago when I had a variety of clients. While friends and relatives often compliment my gift-giving, my business gifts weren’t the kind that left a positive lasting impression. I found out that it’s not always how much to spend on client gifts (although that is important), but putting thought into it. At times, I went lavish, but failed to understand what my client might prefer. I have a question, do you recommend buying birthday gifts for clients?

  5. I’m confused by this article on how much to spend on client gifts. I see the dollar amounts and things such as what types of business you do. My questions concern sales-based business. As a former salesperson, I was surprised to see $100K-$1MM revenue generators only getting $200. I know the article mentions you don’t want to be obnoxious with gifts, but $200 seems pretty lowball for a client that big. Anyone care to share their thoughts and experience?

  6. Corporate gift-giving is something you don’t want to leave to anyone. I’ve been reading some of the articles here and while I don’t work for a corporation, I can see how business gifts need to be handled smoothly. In your opinion, who do you recommend handle getting gifts for the holiday season? Is this an H.R. matter, P.R. matter?

  7. Harry, I know they're confusing. I hope we make this simple enough to see the difference between corporate gift towers and engraved gifts.

  8. Business Gifts are hard to choose. We have some corporate gift basket ideas that would blow your mind. Thanks for reading!

  9. We're here to help. I recommend buying birthday gifts that are simple. Just a simple momento to show you care. Don't spend more than $50, you'll be overdoing it. A $40 box of chocolates, or if it's a guy, a personalized wedding decanter, can do the trick.

  10. Hugh, sorry for the confusion. And thanks for the feedback. I think if you have a $1MM contract with someone, a $200 dinner and a $200 gift is a great way to go. I think getting into more expensive gifts can make it feel like you're really buying them off, so I suggest breaking up the expensive gifts into smaller pieces. It goes further and makes a bigger splash. Really depends on the industry though.

  11. Definitely a P.R. or marketing matter. Usually you'll discuss it with them. Gifts for employees are HR Matters. Thanks for reading!

Ask us a Question or leave a Comment. We reply to everyone!

Your email address will not be published.